Addiction Center helps individuals get on the road to recovery

September 6, 2018  //  FOUND IN: Our Employees,

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Across the U.S., more than 20 million people are affected by substance abuse. Issues can range from opioid addiction to alcohol abuse to illicit drug use.

“Substance abuse and addiction is a disease, not a moral failing,” said Fred Blow, Ph.D., director of the Addiction Center at Michigan Medicine. “And there is no shame in an individual seeking treatment for such a disease, just as they would any other health condition.”

In honor of National Recovery Month, Headlines is taking a closer look at the Addiction Center — and the valuable Michigan Medicine team members who help carry out its mission.

A complete treatment plan

The Addiction Center is a division of the Department of Psychiatry and offers outpatient treatment, research and educational services, all focusing on substance abuse.

“Our treatment program tackles addiction as the lifelong disease that it is,” said Blow. “Even though a large percentage of our patients are in recovery, we stress to everyone that this is something people need to work on their entire life.”

In order to get to the recovery stage, Addiction Center experts use a variety of treatment methods, ranging from medication to individual, group or couples therapy sessions.

“What works for one patient may not work for another,” Blow said. “So everyone’s treatment plan is unique and tailored to be as successful as possible.”

Currently, the center sees hundreds of patients, but still has capacity to see more.

If a clinician at Michigan Medicine wants to refer a patient to the Addiction Center for an assessment, they should contact the center at 1-800-525-5188 or make a request via MiChart. Patients may also refer themselves for treatment.

Finding answers

In addition to outpatient care, the Addiction Center focuses much of its attention on research.

“Research is truly our bread and butter, as we bring in more than half of the grant dollars for the Department of Psychiatry,” Blow said. “For example, we have played a major role in a national study of brain scans of young individuals to study signs at the beginning of addiction.”

The team has also looked closely at the connection between substance abuse and suicide and performed a long-term study on addiction within families.

Finally, the center offers postdoctoral fellowships to help train the next generation of experts.

“We are focused on finding answers and staying at the cutting-edge of research and education, which in turn ensures that we will remain at the cutting-edge of treatment, as well,” Blow said.

Taking care of their own

If you are a Michigan Medicine faculty or staff member and believe you have a substance abuse problem, you may provide a self-referral to the Addiction Center.

“We have a specialized program for health professionals geared at helping them achieve success,” Blow said. “With a fast-paced work environment, and the 24/7 nature of health care delivery, we know our employees face unique circumstances that can lead to stress, and in turn, substance abuse.”

The program specifically addresses those issues, while taking great care to protect anyone’s privacy.

“There are private waiting rooms and safeguards in place to protect your information from colleagues, including a firewall that keeps substance abuse information separate from the rest of the electronic health record,” Blow said.

In the end, seeking help is the first — and most important — step on the road to recovery.

“No one is immune to substance abuse, no matter your cultural background, gender, job or socioeconomic status,” Blow said. “But treatment works. So if you’re struggling, reach out for help and we’ll help you get on the road to recovery. That’s what we’re here for.” 

For more information, click here. To schedule an appointment with U-M Addiction Treatment Services, call 1-800-525-5188.

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